The Brazilian and global mining sectors are keeping a watchful eye on developments in the minerals-rich South American nation, with the government reported to be moving closer to unveiling new mining guidelines.
Latest reports suggest the government is finalizing details of Mine Plan 2050, which was due to be released in November 2022.
The process has been delayed by the 2022 national elections, which saw Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva finally take office as president on 1 January 2023, his third time in the position.
A former metalworker and trade union leader, the new president indicated pre-election that he was considering raising royalties on certain mining projects, while he also promised to curb gold mining in the Amazon rainforest.
In the wake of the change of government, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government is extending public consultation designed to help prepare the long-term plan through to 2050 to establish guidelines for developing the country’s mining industry.
Bnamericas has reported that the public consultation period will now close in mid to late February 2023.
The Mining and Metallurgy Division of the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Brazil, and the National Academy of Administration and Management, held the first working meeting to listen to the opinions of relevant parties on the 2050 National Mining Plan in early 2022.
The proposed “Mine Plan 2050” comprises a strategic agenda for the sector and sets guidelines that will establish public policies for the sustainable development of the mining sector in 2023-50. The plan is based on three pillars: the use of mineral resources, competitiveness and sustainability, the mines and energy ministry said in a statement.
The Plan is expected to be revised every five years to address changes in the situation that may alter the prospects for the development of Brazilian mining.
Mining an economic strength
While Brazil’s iron more miners have suffered in recent years, the government is confident it will report its first surplus in eight years.
Mining and oil and gas continue to be major export earners for the South American nation. According to Statista, revenue from Brazil’s mining and quarrying sector is projected to amount to US$53.56B in 2023, while an annual growth rate of 3.48% is expected (CAGR 2023-2025).
Brazil is the world’s second largest producer of iron ore, manganese, tantalite, and bauxite, and continues to be the world’s top producer of niobium.
The Brazilian Mining Association (Portuguese acronym IBRAM) says the government will be using the annual PDAC conference in Canada this year to help attract new investors to the mining sector.
According to IBRAM, Brazilian organizations from the mining sector, as well as from the federal government, will present to foreign investors and entrepreneurs the new business opportunities in the sector for the coming decades at the annual convention to be held in Toronto between 5 and 8 March this year.
IBRAM will also be present with the Brazilian organizing committee at PDAC 2023, coordinated by the Agency for Technological Development of the Brazilian Mineral Industry (ADIMB). Entities such as the National Mining Agency (ANM) and the Geological Survey of Brazil (SGB – CPRM) will also bring their representatives to the convention.
The director-president of IBRAM, Raul Jungmann, believes that PDAC is an ideal stage to conduct a survey on the mood of foreign investors in relation to mining in various nations, including Brazil.
“Ensuring the presence of the Brazilian mineral sector in events of this size is an opportunity to prospect new business, in addition to obtaining information on the scenario of the activity worldwide,” he said.
IBRAM says mining is one of the routes for Brazil to attract foreign capital in large volumes in the coming years and double the sector’s share in GDP, from 2.4% to 5%.
Former minister of mines and energy, Adolfo Sachsida, told an IBRAM event in late November last year that due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, “there is a reallocation of the investment portfolio, leaving Eastern Europe and Asia in search of a ‘safe haven’”.
“As there is worldwide interest in the energy transition and it is impossible to achieve it without increasing the supply of minerals, this is a great opportunity for mining to prosper and generate even more wealth, jobs and opportunities for Brazilians,” he said.
He noted that for Brazil to prove it is a safe harbour in the mining sector, it is necessary to renew the legal frameworks for this activity, create instruments to finance its projects, and create a safer and more predictable business environment, among other measures. According to Mr Sachsida, it is necessary to resolve such situations in order not to condemn the country to “not growing”.
Several Brazilian Federal and State authorities, as well as businessmen from various sectors, ambassadors and other representatives of diplomatic delegations participated in the event. They were joined by the ambassador of the European Union, Ignácio Ybañez Rubio; Australian ambassador Grant Morrison; and representatives from the US and Finnish embassies.
IBRAM CEO, Raul Jungmann, said, “The mining industry is economically solid, but we are not just numbers.”
He said that sustainability, the transition to a low-carbon economy, the fight against climate change, the preservation of biodiversity, and other fundamental themes for the present and future of humanity are at the centre of attention and actions in the mineral sector.
Mr Jungmann said that IBRAM and the associated mining companies are reinforcing their activities in relation to these issues and cited two examples: the launch of the Mining Green Book, with several cases of environmental preservation in charge of the mining companies; the Amazon & Bioeconomy International Conference, which will be held in August 2023.
Mr Jungmann said that mining will be an agent promoting the debate and also actions to establish an effectively sustainable development project for the Amazon, in conjunction with other organizations and governments.
He said it is necessary to develop the Amazon socially and environmentally, with respect for the original peoples, in order to create positive prospects for the future for the population of that region.
“Mining has an important role to play in relation to this challenge,” he added.